If a football club wins a match but no one was there to see it, did they actually win? We might find out sooner or later the way Melbourne City is tracking.
It would be easy to get lost in the grandness of the City Football Group’s plans to dominate the world of football, but Melbourne City seems hopelessly lost in the quagmire of mediocrity.
City might remain on track for finals football, they might win more games than they lose, they might even produce the odd gem here and there.
But as long as they limp from week to week, producing absolute snooze-fests, they will continue to lose a dwindling supporter base.
Based in Manchester – where the group’s flagship club, Manchester City, remains in the hunt for four major honours this season – CFG have branches in the United States (New York City FC), Japan (Yokohama), Spain (Girona), Uruguay (Club Athletico Torque) and Australia.
Last week, the Group confirmed its takeover of China’s Sichuan Jiuniu, but while the machine continues to advance across borders, the Melbourne club looks lost at sea.
What purpose the club is serving as a cog in the machine remains unclear, but after another lacklustre performance – this time against Victory – the question has to be asked what good is CFG doing for the A-League and, more importantly, their fans?
Derbies are the lifeblood of the A-League, especially for clubs like City.
They have struggled since day one to achieve significant buy-in from what is left of Melbourne’s football public in the shadow of the raging success that is the Victory.
These games are a priceless opportunity to showcase an exciting product and win new fans, as well as reassure the existing ones that there is a reason to turn up.
Yet, despite enjoying the sizeable advantage of having an extra man against Victory for the majority of the game, City served up more of the same.
Warren Joyce’s team struggled hopelessly to create significant chances, outside of the passage which saw Jamie Maclaren win a penalty, and two long-range strikes from Rostyn Griffiths and Luke Brattan – which hit the post and crossbar respectively.
You only had to take a glance at the club’s mentions on Twitter to get a taste of what fans felt about the display.
This organisation is surely taking the piss out of us members with this coach and game style. Played with an extra man for 80 minutes and knocked the ball around like turtles as if we were a man down. Absolute disgrace. Sack WJ and get Bruno back into this side with Mclaren.
— Tony Gullaci (@TGullaci) February 23, 2019
Just realised it’s Perth next week & then Sydney who always smash City. If the jets win tomorrow they are only 4 points behind. The club could very well be out of the top 6 in a fortnight surely Joyce must go now to limit any further damage. #JoyceOut
— Shiellsy (@chadnotweet) February 23, 2019
— Ric Freeman ????️???? (@ric_freeman) February 23, 2019
With 24 goals in 20 games, Bruno Fornaroli ostracised, and just eight wins to date, it’s hard to disagree with the paying members.
By failing to live up to their potential on the field, they run the risk of failing to fulfil their promise off of it.
There are so many football lovers in Melbourne that the club could capture, although that pool will be eaten into by the imminent arrival of Western United FC.
And as the drive for a national second division continues to grow, more and more people may find their way back to the childhood clubs they played for or supported before the A-League.
With such an extraordinary network of resources behind them, the powers that be at CFG appear happy for Melbourne City to continue to go through the motions – provided the club continues to make finals, produce a few good players who can be shipped off to Europe via Manchester, and does not cost an arm and a leg to run.
But fans want to support a club, not a factory, and unless CFG acts quickly, their Melbourne branch will struggle.